What is diabetes? Diabetes Quiz

Reviewed by Robert Ehrman, MD

What is diabetes?  Answer these simple (or maybe not so simple) questions and see how much you know.

  • Diabetes is inherited. So, there is nothing I can do to prevent it.  True or False?
  • Type 2 diabetes is not as serious as type 1. Therefore, I don’t have to monitor my blood glucose so carefully.  True or False?
  • You can prevent or delay diabetes complications. True or False?
  • You won’t feel any different if your blood glucose is in your target range. True or False?
  • Everyone is at equal risk for getting diabetes.  True or False?
  • Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes makes it possible to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.   True or False?


Diabetes is inherited. So, there is nothing I can do to prevent it.True and False
Both types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, have a genetic component. But the chances of inheriting diabetes is much greater for type 2. A person who develops type 1 diabetes was born with a genetic makeup that put them at higher risk for the disease. Somewhere along the line, something “environmental” happened to set off an immune response. This response caused the cells in the pancreas that make insulin—the beta cells—to be destroyed. However, just because a parent has type 1 diabetes doesn’t mean his/her children will develop the disease. But such children are at slightly higher risk of developing it than other children.

Your genes play a much greater role in type 2 diabetes. People who have a parent or a sibling with type 2 have a much greater risk of developing it.

Being overweight and inactive adds to the risk. If a person knows that he or she is at-risk for type 2 diabetes because of genetics, reaching and staying at a healthy weight and being physically active can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is not as serious as type 1. Therefore, I don’t have to monitor my blood glucose so carefully.  False
Both type 1 and type 2 are serious. Both can lead to complications, such as kidney failure, eye disease, and nerve damage. Whether you have type 1 or type 2, you have to take your diabetes care seriously.

Keeping your blood glucose between 90 and 130 mg/dL before meals, and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of meals, is very important and can help you keep your diabetes on track. You should also keep your A1c (the average of your blood glucose level over the last two to three months) at or under 7 percent.

You can prevent or delay diabetes complications.  True
Keeping your blood glucose in your target range day after day will help you feel better and prevent or delay possible diabetes complications, such as:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Eye disease that can lead to vision problems or even blindness
  • Nerve damage that can cause your hands and feet to feel numb
  • Kidney problems that can result in the need for dialysis or even transplant
  • Gum disease and loss of teeth

You won’t feel any different if your blood glucose is in your target range. False
Keeping your blood glucose levels within your target range will help you feel better. You will:

  • Be less tired
  • Be less thirsty and urinate less often
  • Heal more quickly and have fewer gum, skin or bladder infections
  • Be less likely to have blurry vision or numb hands or feet

Everyone is at equal risk for getting diabetes.False
Some people may have a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes than others. If you are at-risk, ask your health care provider if you need to be tested for diabetes. People in this higher-risk group are those who:

  • Are ages 45 and older (Note: If you are younger than 45, but have some of the risk factors for diabetes, you will want to be checked for diabetes starting at a younger age.)
  • Are overweight
  • Are African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander or American Indian
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure (above 140/90)
  • Have low HDL (good cholesterol) and high levels of LDL and total cholesterol (HDL and LDL combined)
  • Have had diabetes when pregnant or given birth to a large baby (over 9 pounds)
  • Are active less than three times a week

Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes makes it possible to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. True
The terms “pre-diabetes” and “impaired fasting glucose” are used to describe a level of blood glucose that is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes.  In October of 2003, an international panel of diabetes experts recommended that the number which defines pre-diabetes be lowered. The goal of this change is to diagnose pre-diabetes earlier, when it is still possible to prevent diabetes. You will be diagnosed with pre-diabetes with any of the following:

  • A before-meal blood glucose reading between 100 mg/dL and 126 mg/dL
  • A blood glucose reading between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL, done any time of day
  • An oral glucose tolerance test showing blood glucose values between 140 mg/dL and 199 mg/dL at the two-hour point of the test
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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and www.NutritionStarringYOU.com. Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded NutritionBabes.com, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. NutritionBabes.com was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

OmnichannelHealth Media, publisher of DiabetesDigest.com, does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.